State budget clears first hurdle in Senate vote, but map of elected school boards could stall until next year


A day after Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Democratic lawmakers announced the budget agreement, a revised version of the state spending plan made some headway and passed the Illinois Senate late Thursday.

But Chicago’s newly elected school board’s final map of school districts could be even longer, as the House voted to give it a few more months to make.

With the state’s budget rushing forward, the Illinois House of Representatives could pass a $50.6 billion spending plan by Friday, almost a year behind the original deadline set by Democrats themselves. It’s been a week late.

At around 11:15 p.m., the Senate passed the bill by a 34-22 vote, paving the way for a vote in the House on Friday.

About an hour earlier, the Senate passed one of the basic budget bills, 36-20.

Once passed, Pritzker said he looks forward to the House considering a budget that “will make childcare and education more accessible, health care more affordable, and further strengthen the state’s business and economic position.” Told.

“This budget builds on our track record of financial responsibility while making innovative investments in Illinois’ children and families,” Mr. Pritzker said in a statement.

Senate Republicans participating in the budget negotiations did not support the budget, in part because it only included a $2.50 wage increase for providers of services for people with developmental disabilities. are mentioned. Two Democrats also voted against the bill.

The Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities had asked workers to raise their wages by $4 an hour. Republicans also resented the lack of funding for private school scholarship programs. State Senator Chapin Rose (R, Mahomet) took some of the blame for prioritizing medical care for illegal immigrants.

Illinois Senate Republican Majority Leader John Curran (Republican, Downers Grove) said the budget “not only misprioritizes spending, but includes inappropriate investments for the people we represent.” It is,” he said. He scolded the Democrats for abolishing private school scholarships.

“From my point of view, turning your back on these families is wrong,” Curran said.

But Illinois Senate President Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat, called it a “responsible balanced budget.”

“This is a budget that invests in schools in Red and Blue Districts. We invest in hospitals and health workers in Red and Blue Districts across the state. We invest in your district and our district. We invest in municipalities,” Harmon said. “It’s a shame we haven’t hit the bipartisan budget yet, but we renew our determination to work together next year. And we’ll try again.”

House Democrats resolve key issues, including debates over medical funding for illegal immigrants, programs to help fund private school scholarships, evidence-based school funding, funding district projects, and more Lawmakers spent most of Thursday in caucuses.

By Thursday afternoon, an amendment to the original budget had been put forward, signaling that chaos had calmed down in the House. In some cases, legislators voiced their support for the bill after it included projects within the district.

Current illegal immigrant medical costs include about $550 million, part of a larger Medicaid spending through the Illinois Department of Human Services.

Another measure, part of the Budget Enforcement Bill, would give the department the power to make emergency rulemaking to modify the process for funding such health care, which is beyond the department’s current ability to do so. isn’t it. If the agency chooses to change, states will enforce those new rules.

Pritzker said Wednesday that Democratic leaders agreed to provide the governor’s office with “tools” to manage the program so that it does not reach unsustainable proportions.

Budget issues weren’t the only immediate task at the State Capitol.

The Illinois House of Representatives passed 106-0 to agree with the Senate on a sweeping ethics bill targeting red-light camera companies, sending the bill to Mr. Pritzker’s desk. The case comes after several elected officials were indicted in connection with a federal investigation into their dealings with the politically linked red light camera company Safespeed.

The law prohibits contractors who provide equipment or services to red-light camera companies from contributing to campaigns.

It would also allow the Illinois Department of Transportation to remove certain red-light cameras linked to bribery and corruption scandals. There is also a two-year revolving door provision, which would prohibit members of the General Assembly and local and county officials from accepting employment from contractors who provide automated enforcement equipment.

In a separate issue, the House decided to give nine more months to draw maps for Chicago’s new elected school board.

After two weeks of controversial hearings, supporters complained that their voices were not being heard, and lawmakers proposed an amendment that extended the original July 1 deadline for drawing up district maps. submitted a proposal. The amendment would extend the term of office of the legislators to April. On January 1, 2024, elections will determine the districts from which school boards will be elected.

The House of Representatives approved the amendment Thursday night 69-36, and the Senate was also scheduled to consider the bill before recess.

After two hearings, supporters said they wanted the map to represent the population of the public school system rather than the city’s general population.

“Thank you to everyone who fought for equality,” tweeted consultant Eli Brotman on Thursday night, who testified that the map had many problems, including a lack of Latino-majority districts. bottom.

“We are winning the battle, but we must ensure that we continue to incorporate broad public feedback on the process and proposed maps in the coming months,” Brotman said. “Accountability does not end here.”

The Elected School Board will start in 2025 with 10 members elected in the November 2024 election, plus 10 members and a School Board President appointed by Mayor Brandon Johnson.


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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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